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From Sunday Express UK Newspaper April 2004

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - Sunday Express Interview

Transcribed By BlindMystic - From Smgboard.com

Saturday 1 May 2004, by Webmaster

The UK newspaper featured an article with comments from Sarah about being sued by McDonald’s as a child, the media, and a Buffy movie.

The past is finally catching up with Sarah Michelle Gellar. On the surface, she is America’s sweetheart: the star of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the Scooby-Doo films; non-threateningly beautiful, and as down-to-earth as anyone could be who’s been acting for 23 of her 27 years. Achingly cool with just a hint of nerd, Gellar balances her Hollywood pursuits and movie-star Freddie Prinze Jr with such unexpected extra-curricular activites as flower-arranging, antique book-collecting and watching cartoons. "I didn’t watch cartoons as a kid," she reveals, "but then in my teens when I got nostalgic for my youth, I got into them big time."

Behind the smiles and perfect hair, however, there is a crack in her teen queen persona. A terrible truth, now revealed: as a child she was banned by McDonald’s. "Banned is a strong word", she begins, a little defensively. "When I was five I did a commercial for Burger King." It was the first ad in the States to name and shame a rival. "McDonald’s were so outraged, they sued Burger King and named me in the lawsuit. I wasn’t allowed to eat there. It was tough because, when you’re a little kid, McDonald’s is where all your friends have their birthday parties, so I missed out on a lot of apple pies."

With the ban now lifted, Gellar is free to indulge herself. "Oh, I like burgers," she says with relish. "Meat and burgers." Despite evidence to the contrary, Gellar obviously likes her food. Her skinny frame is less about diet and more about exercise. She practised tae kwon do for five years and is into kickboxing, street fighting, boxing and gymnastics.

As well as meat, she really loves sushi. Having just completed a three-month stint in Japan filming a thriller called The Grudge, Gellar says she got hooked on blowfish, which is illegal in the States because it’s poisonous and potentially lethal. "I loved it. They have to slice it very carefully, making sure they leave just enough poison to make your mouth tingle. The first time I had it I asked for a second bowl and was about to order a third when somebody pointed out that it was $85 a time, which is a lot to pay for poison." It doesn’t, however, sound like much for someone who reportedly made $6 million for Scooby-Doo 2. "I never get paid as much as they say," she retorts.

Just as bizarre were her eating contests with Buffy co-star David Boreanaz. Before every screen kiss they would eat stinky food - "not to upset each other," Gellar clarifies, "more a friendly competition to see who could gross the other out. One night, I got really sick because I combined tuna, nachos and jalapenos. I was determined to win because that’s who I am. I’m like "I must beat him. I must smell worse."

This was, apparently, all part of the pressure of being Buffy. "We worked so hard for so long that at a certain point we just went nuts and did things that seeemed funny at the time, but afterwards...."

Gellar’s relationship with the media is friendly but guarded. She’ll throw you a fish but stop short of a meal. It’s a technique honed to perfection after years in the celebrity spotlight. "In the beginning, it was difficult," she recalls. "You’re 18 and suddenly everyone’s talking about you - nice things and not such nice things - and your life changes overnight. You can’t prepare for that. It’s overwhelming.

"Eventually you reach a place where you see all the attention you get as a sign that people like what you do and if sometimes someone says or writes something unkind about me I’ve learned to ignore it. I don’t want to be someone who pleads, ’I just want my privacy’ - but at the same time you crave it. The best you can do is show your fans respect and hope they’ll treat you the same way."

So does she read her own press? "I don’t go online and type in my name or anything like that. Every so often I’ll read something about myself. If I’ve got 20 minutes spare time, though, I’m not going to spend it reading about me. There’s got to be something more interesting I could be doing."

Like making a Buffy movie? Gellar shakes her head. "We went out on a high. What if the movie was disappointing? Would that be what people remembered us by? It frightens me," she says rising to leave, but not before dropping a tantalising: "You never know though. Never say never. That’s my motto."